I would be a millionaire, if I had a $1 for every wife I met, coached or told me, "I thought he would change after we got married!" It's like we all have this secret theory before we get married, that assures us that when our husbands really see how we "throw-down" in the kitchen, keep a sparkling-clean house or rock his world between the sheets, he will then . . . POOF!
INSTANTLY CHANGE all of those things we weren't fond of before we married him!
This theory states that after marriage, we will finally be rid of our husband's annoying, drive-you-crazy habits and quirks! Soon after we say, "I DO!", our husbands will quickly morph into the man we have painted in our minds! The one who takes out ALL of the trash without you having to tell him AND puts the liner back in the trash can immediately. He washes and folds the clothes, when he sees the laundry basket overflowing. He loads and unloads the dishwasher without being asked. He asks you about your day with zeal, enthusiasm and genuine interest. He loves spending hours with you at your favorite department store, holding your bags and watching you try on every single outfit. He stimulates you emotionally and engages with you for hours on end as you take him through a recap of your day. He shows up with flowers every Friday and strives to impress you with highly creative weekly date nights. He initiates quality bonding time with the kids daily from infancy into adulthood. And finally, he eagerly jumps into bed at night to cuddle with you, and you both drift off to sleep in complete bliss!
GIRL... WAKE UP!!!
About a month ago, I posted a blog titled, "20 things I wish I knew before "I DO!" It hit home with women of all ages, backgrounds and statuses...single, married and divorced. I received such amazing feedback that I had to respond. I felt led to take you on a deeper dive into each of the areas addressed.
This week's deep dive: YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND!
I know to some of you newlyweds out there, this news may come as a shock or maybe even bum you out! But, don't despair!
As a relationship coach for 13 years, working with women, engaged and married couples, I have studied the behavior of women and men for years and one thing I can say is, "there is nothing new under the sun." What I mean by that is, the issues I have helped women and couples through are common among all ethnicities, ages, backgrounds and social economic factors.
Well, let's just get right to the point, shall we?
Ultimately . . . we want to control our life, situations, circumstances and ummm...our husbands! Life would be so much easier, if he just did what I told him to do and did everything exactly the way I do things! Right? Right. I feel you! I felt the same way and on occasion, I have to catch myself from going there . . . wanting to control the whole world and everyone in it! LOL
So to my fellow wives and wives-to-be, here are a few of my favorite nuggets in hopes they bless you, encourage you, free you and release you from the personal pressure of attempting the impossible.
1. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL
I know this may be hard to hear. It was hard for me to swallow at first too. I avoided this realization as long as possible. I ran from it, ducked it and ignored knowing this truth until it ran me down and made me confront it! Without manipulation, control or intimidation, you cannot control your husband's behavior, actions, choices, decisions or free will. While you may not be able to control him, the good news is that you ARE in control of YOU! So, when you feel the urge to want to control your spouse, look within and assess what behavior, choice, action or decision can be changed within YOU to create the experience you desire.
2. YOUR WAY IS ONE WAY, NOT THE ONLY WAY
Whew! This was a hard one, especially when my babies were younger. I would have them on a great sleeping schedule, eating homemade meals -- you know the drill. They thrived in their routine. With 3 babies in 3 years, I often complained of desperately needing some ME time! Adrian would come to the rescue and take over! The kids would eat at McDonalds, drink soda, go to bed an hour later and forget to brush their teeth! Aaakkk!!! I came home feeling more stressed than before!
But here is what I learned: my husband is not going to do some thing to hurt our children. Yes, I am never a fan of drinking soda and McDonalds is not my restaurant of choice, but at the end of the day, I needed every minute of that break for my mind, body and soul to recover, replenish and rejuvenate. A few hours or a couple of days here and there will not completely break down any routine, habit or practice that I worked so hard to establish for our children. Just get back into routine and be grateful for his help! Husbands need space to establish his own way of parenting HIS children! Show your support!
3. YOU ARE AN INFLUENCER, NOT THE CREATOR.
God created your husband perfectly . . . perfectly for Him! I remember when I had my "a-ha" moment on this one. I realized that I had a lot of nerve wanting to "UN-DO" what God DID by creating my husband to be who He is. Hmmm...that's deep, right? God created your husband to be the way he his for a reason. I spent years asking God to show me the inner working and secret places of my husband's heart. Those places that made God love my husband so much!
I politely got out of God's lane as creator and moved over into my lane as influencer. As a wife, you are an influencer. God has gifted you with the power to influence your husband through your words, actions, behavior and example. So, anytime you see something in your husband that you don't quite like, be the example you want to see in him!
4. YOU MUST LEARN TO FOLLOW
I know, I know. Submission is a bad word to many wives, in fact, it makes some cringe! But, relax, it's really not that bad. I know you are used to doing everything! But, guess what? You aren't designed to. It's okay to relax and let your man lead!
It's a weird phenomenon for a lot of wives because they don't know how to follow. They don't know how to relinquish control and trust God with the process. Some wives deep down really wish they trusted their husband's leadership, but, it's uncomfortable and a little scary to feel exposed and vulnerable like that. But, ladies, that's the way God designed it.
What I've learned: Following your husband's leadership is an act of trust, love, honor and service. When you follow his decisions for your family, it validates him, encourages him and elevates him to a place of greater self-confidence within himself. Ladies, help him know that HE CAN DO IT!
5. CHOOSE TO TRUST
Did you know your husband was grown? LOL I have had to remind myself of this fact on many occasion. Adrian would remind me lovingly and sometimes not so lovingly (LOL) that I was not his mother! I admit sometimes that I would forget that he WAS thriving and surviving before me! . . . well maybe not thriving! haha
Your husband is very capable!! If he wasn't you wouldn't have married him, right? It is time to make the decision to TRUST GOD above your own knowledge! Trust God with your husband and with your marriage. Trust God with YOUR process, while allowing Him to grow you both . . . together. Trusting is . . . creating a safe place for your husband to be himself!
While some of these nuggets may deeply resonate with you and some may not, I hope you had a few laughs because . . . you KNOW what I'm talking about! ;-)
I would love to hear about your own personal nuggets regarding marriage. Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Living! XOXO